4 Steps Business Owners Should Consider to Protect Against Future Liability

Businesses have a responsibility to be proactive and limit potential exposure to their workers, customers, clients and visitors. There are lawsuits flowing in all over the country that have to do with workers allegedly contracting the virus at work. Now that businesses in Florida are starting to reopen, business owners need to develop a strategy to reopen the right way so they can mitigate the risks involved with reopening. Here are 4 steps business should consider in developing their strategy.

  1. Understand and follow guidelines – Business owners should monitor and comply with your local and federal government rules, guidelines and regulations. This can help limit exposure to liability. Businesses should display signs with their protocols for employees and customers to follow – these protocols might include guidelines such as handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing. It is important to train employees on sanitation practices in accordance with your industry guidelines. It is also necessary to review visitor and vendor policies to determine if they should be limited and how so.

  2. Use liability waivers – A liability waiver is a document used when a customer/client acknowledges the risks of accepting the services of another. Your business insurer might require this. These waiver must demonstrate a clear intention to waive rights and should be carefully drafted to ensure proper protection.

  3. Review Employment situation – Business owners need to develop solid strategies when bringing workers back. There is going to be a lot to consider with bringing employees back such as will everyone come back? Are you providing ppe? Will you implement a wellness screening process? How are you going to get employees to take the infection prevention measures recommended by the cdc? Employers are going to have to monitor OSHA requirements to determine which safety and health standards they need to follow.

  • Employees might be entitled to leave rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.Employers must understand their company’s obligations under the FFCRA and develop a plan to implement so that they are prepared if an employee wants to take leave that is covered.Determine who is entitled to paid leave and how is that leave to be administered.

  • If your business is not able to immediately bring back its entire workforce, employers need to be cautious about who they bring back.If this is not done correctly and you do not have a plan that lists factors on who to bring back in place, you could face discrimination claims. It is a good idea to plan now and have a strategy on how you will determine which employees will be brought back. Document the process in writing. If your decision about who to bring back is based on who has higher risk of covid 19 complications, for example deciding that you won’t bring anyone back over the age of 65 or a pregnant woman, you could face discrimination claims. You will have to be very careful here because it is easy to run afoul of discrimination laws.

  1. Review contracts - The way we conduct business upon reopening will be different. This means the documents used to govern our relationships might need to change. Evaluate current contracts to see if they adequately address the consequences of covid-19. Do they provide a sufficient level of protection? If they don’t it is important to update them.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I am helping businesses get back to work and I can help walk you through the legal issues associated with the reopening process. You can contact Wheeler Legal PPLC by calling (321) 209-5995 or email at andrea@wheeler-legal.com.

Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship. This firm aims to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this post. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

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